Thursday, January 12, 2012

Merely Mystery Reading Challenge - Death Comes to Pemberly

Death Comes to Pemberly is a pretty good sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Despite all the complaints about the (somewhat minor, I feel) plot inaccuracies and historical detail, it's still a very good novel that carries on the tone and style of the orignal quite well.

Those expecting a fast-paced mystery plot will be disappointed. Pride and Prejudice is a genteel novel, and Death Comes to Pemberly is, invariably, genteel. There are no dramatic denouments, no high-speed horse chases or even dramatic conflict. The murder itself takes place off-stage and the climax occurs at the trial, but without the dramatic lawyers in Ace Attorney or other books.

I write all the bad things not to make the book seem boring, but to prepare the prospective readers. This book is slow but satisfying. In fact, the plot seems to be merely a vehicle to flesh out the beloved characters and give them another layer of depth - something, which I may add, is done very well.

I finished the book feeling as though I knew the characters better. Darcy's Pride vs Love conflict was interesting to read, and his perspective added to the book. In fact, I think the dominant POV was his, rather than Elizabeth's, which I didn't really mind because the original novel fleshes out her character pretty well.

The only thing I didn't like? Why didn't Wickham die? Hmm.... I wonder if this is a spoiler. But anyways, yes, contrary to the impression given by the blurb, Wickham is not murdered. It's a pity really, I was hoping that the villian gets killed off. But I supposed it's because if he really does die, then who would be cast in a negative light? Lady Catherine? It's possible but quite unlikely she would soil her hands to murder Wickham. I highly doubt she'd even condescend to spit on his dead body.

I really recommend all Pride and Prejudice friends to read this book. It's well-written and I really enjoyed reading it. It also holds true to the Jane Austen spirit, staying firmly within the created universe, unlike some other fan-works like Murder at Mansfield Park (I think it's terrible because it twists the characters. I still don't see the use of re-writing the nature of each character, because they are then no longer the characters you know and love)

As part of the reading challenge, I would place this as a historical murder mystery. Theoretically, it could also be a cozy, since there's no violence or explicit scenes, but I would prefer to use that for an Agatha Christie novel.


  1. I have only read a couple of P.D. James books, both of which I really liked. She's good at getting inside her characters' heads, isn't she? I will have to look for this one. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books of all time.

    1. Yup. It took me a while to get used to her writing style, then I loved it! Pride and Prejudice is the first Austen book I read, and also my favourite ^^

  2. Cindy says: This sounds interesting and I'll have to put it on my TBR list. It intrigued me enough to go look it up on Amazon, where I found that "In 2000 she celebrated her eightieth birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest" - which means she published this book, Death Comes to Pemberley, when she was 91!! Wow!
    I've never read any of her books, but have heard of her. I also saw that "She loves Jane Austen so much that she rereads her books each year", so we have the same spirit!
    Noe and I have reread Austen books many times. That's why I encouraged him to write our P&P companion book, "Mr Darcy falls in love" ... and he's got another one in the making that I already love!
    I guess I should sign in under my own name, but since our blog is "Noe and Cindy write" I sometimes use this account to comment with.
    Thanks for posting about this book, Eustacia, I would not have known about it if you hadn't :-)

    1. You're welcome Cindy! I hope you get a chance to read the book, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!



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